I’ll come straight to the point: there’s too much yapping going on nowadays. Too much talking, analysis, and speculation. Too many pundits presenting their “expert” opinions. Too many wannabes clawing at the air waves, trying to be seen. Too much Tik-Tok, twitter, facebook, instagram. While it’s good and necessary to be informed, all this “in your face” media and critical thinking is often overwhelming, and you just have to throw up your hands and say, “Enough already!”
There’s too much news coverage on television. It’s everywhere, all the time. Do we need to hear the same thing over and over again? Cable news has become the proverbial broken record. Does anyone listen anymore? For example, last night at 7 p.m. on CNN, journalist/anchor Erin Burnett reported on the tragic shooting in Boulder, Colorado and reviewed/analyzed the event and gun control issues with law enforcement experts. At 8:00 on CNN, Anderson Cooper did the exact same thing and discussed the same issues with the same law enforcement guest as Burnett. Doubtless, the remainder of CNN’s lineup followed suit. Is such repetitive commentary necessary? Journalists speculate we have become less and less affected by mass shootings due the frequency of such events; perhaps more people would carefully contemplate the issue if journalists didn’t repeat themselves. I’ll stick to evening news when anchors - not television personalities competing for ratings - report straight news without a lot of unnecessary words.
In this age of misinformation, we are encouraged to check our news sources, separate the wheat from the chaff, which is not an easy task when political pundits are a dime a dozen.
Television news has morphed into a ratings game in which talk show personalities like Sean Hannity are indistinguishable from proven journalists like Anderson Cooper. Both gentlemen are talking heads with very different backgrounds. Viewers don’t bother to verify the credentials of the television hosts who nightly report current events enhanced with a great deal of personal bias. People listen to whoever “speaks” to them; reporters and politicians carefully craft their words to influence and secure followers.
Words are powerful. Masterfully manipulated, words can convince people to charge the United States Capital, to unfairly blame the Asian community for a “flu” they had nothing to do with, to disregard pandemic safety measures, or to believe John F. Kennedy, Jr. is alive and secretly fighting evil with Donald Trump. There are too many words out there nowadays, too many people talking, too many experts, too much noise. Noise is not what we need right now.
I’m a writer positing there are too many words in our lives, too much communication, and yet I am writing a column that adds to the proliferation. The irony is not lost on me. I am admittedly tired, weary of the current state of affairs in our country. Maybe I’m experiencing Covid-19 fatigue, or maybe I am doubting the necessity of my own written words, but I simply wish the world would take a collective breath and be quiet for a little while. Reflect. Recharge. Renew.
Just be quiet.